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  1. #1
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    Default Fall on Katahdin leads to man's death

    I saw a tweet from his son, then read about the death of Donal MacGillis after he was rescued from a fall on Katahdin earlier this week.

    https://bangordailynews.com/2020/10/...l-on-katahdin/

    looks like they got lost in the fog and MacGillis took a fall. Rangers talked them through how to shelter on the mountain before they were airlifted out the next morning.

    https://bangordailynews.com/2020/10/...-50-foot-fall/

    Katahdin rangers said this was the 6th airlift from the mountain this season.

  2. #2
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Ouch! I still have 265 miles left of Maine including Katahdin and that news article did not give me the warm "fuzzies" especially at my age. I guess the take-away from the incident is don't get caught on the mountain at night. I feel sorry for his family. Hiking at 75 sure points to good health and what would have been probably many more years on this Earth.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
    "One step at a time."
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by ldsailor View Post
    Ouch! I still have 265 miles left of Maine including Katahdin and that news article did not give me the warm "fuzzies" especially at my age. I guess the take-away from the incident is don't get caught on the mountain at night. I feel sorry for his family. Hiking at 75 sure points to good health and what would have been probably many more years on this Earth.
    Just to note, they weren't on the AT. Not saying you couldn't also fall 50' off the AT, I'm thinking just below the tablelands, but not as bad I would say as the Knife Edge.

    My condolences to his family, this is sad to hear.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

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  4. #4

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    The Dudley trail is a steep boulder scramble for most of its length. The Hunt Trail (the AT) has some sections that are as challenging but the Dudley is more consistently steep and bouldery

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by ldsailor View Post
    Ouch! I still have 265 miles left of Maine including Katahdin and that news article did not give me the warm "fuzzies" especially at my age. I guess the take-away from the incident is don't get caught on the mountain at night. I feel sorry for his family. Hiking at 75 sure points to good health and what would have been probably many more years on this Earth.
    A sad ending for what probably started out as a grand adventure.

    I too at times am concerned with aging and being on trails having various levels of risk that bring that into acute focus. Agility, vision, hearing, endurance, and decision making are all impacted by the aging process and as you mention, leave the realm of "warm and fuzzy" pretty quickly. For this reason, our community tends to look closely at these events to expand the body of collective knowledge and help us individually to shape our decisions. Is there enough time to complete the route before dark, what is the weather forecast in case a night on the trail is needed, do I have the right clothing and footwear, what gear should be carried to mitigate hypothermia in case something happens, are all decisions we make that evolve over time as we age and our risk tolerance changes.

    Mr. MacGillis, being a journalist, would want us to review the circumstances that led to this accident so we can add to the body of knowledge and possibly help others avoid a similar circumstance. Breaking the chain of an accident as it is being built can be difficult unless one has a plan that will help avoid the last link being forged using something like the 3-strike rule, "if there's a doubt there is no doubt" bromide, or other process. Information from this incident will expand the body of knowledge and may prevent others from similar circumstances over time, which will be one of his many legacies.

    My condolences to the family for their loss.

  6. #6

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    I don't care how good a shape I'd be in, at 75 there is no way I'd do the knife edge. Especially this time of year when the daylight is short. I used to go to Chimney Pond with some friends on Columbus weekend. We did this four years in a row before realizing that was not a good time of year to be on Katahdin. One year we climbed up with a coating of ice on the trail, one year there was 6" of snow on top. (Talking the Ranger into letting us up there in those conditions was not easy) All years it was cold. The one and only time I did the knife edge was our first trip to Baxter and that was in August. The knife edge was scary enough then. We tired it again on one of the October hikes, but got turned around due to conditions being dangerous.

    Anyway more often then not, it seems the 60+ hikers are the ones who need to be rescued. Happens all the time here in the Whites. Now that I'm approaching 70, I have to be real careful. For the last year I've been hiking with a lady 23 years younger then me. (40 hikes in a year, over 300 miles of day hikes!) She likes the trails with sketchy rock scrambles. (We've done a lot the trails on the "25 most terrifying" list) A common refrain during the hard parts of the hike is "We are NOT going to be in the news".
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  7. #7
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I don't care how good a shape I'd be in, at 75 there is no way I'd do the knife edge. Especially this time of year when the daylight is short.
    An 11:30 start from Chimney Pond?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    An 11:30 start from Chimney Pond?
    I didn't see that. You need to start at dawn from Chimney pond to complete that loop this time of year. That late a start was their first mistake.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    An 11:30 start from Chimney Pond?
    2.5 hours after the posted cutoff time.
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

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